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November Existing-Home Sales Jump to 3-Year High

Existing-home sales rose 5.9 percent in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million, the highest level since November 2009, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday. Economists had expected the sales pace to improve to 4.9 million. The increase in sales in November was the fourth in the last six months, following a similar pattern from 2011. According to the NAR's data, November existing-home sales--closed transactions--were up 14.5 percent from one year earlier.

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First-Time Jobless Claims Up Again After Sharp Drop

First-time claims for unemployment insurance increased 17,000 to 361,000 for the week ending December 15, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Economists expected claims to increase to 359,000. The previous week's report was revised upward to 344,000 from the originally reported 343,000.

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Housing Starts Decline in November Even as Builder Confidence Rises

Despite a continuing surge in builder confidence, housing starts dropped 3.0 percent in November to 861,000, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reported jointly Wednesday. Single-family starts dropped 4.1 percent in November, accounting for most of the drop in total starts. Activity was unaffected by superstorm Sandy, which hit the Northeast at the end of October, as most of the drop in single-family starts came in the West and Midwest.

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Freddie Mac CFO to Retire in 2013

Freddie Mac CFO Ross J. Kari is making plans to retire in the second half of 2013, the GSE announced. While Kari has not yet selected an official date to depart from Freddie Mac, he informed the company he intends to retire in the latter half of the year following his 55th birthday.

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Refinance Share Slips in November as Purchase Loans Climb

Purchase originations gained a bit more ground on refinances in November, according to Ellie Mae's latest Origination Insight Report. According to the findings, refinance originations pulled back slightly to represent 68 percent of loans closed, down from 69 percent in the October report. Meanwhile, the share of purchase loans increased to 32 percent from 31 percent previously. Though refinances are slowly losing ground, refinance share remains well above its May level, when refinance and purchase shares were fairly equal.

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RES.NET Expands Platform to Serve Traditional Real Estate Market

RES.NET is expanding beyond the world of defaults and into the realm of traditional real estate, the company announced. Originally introduced in 2004 as a technology solution for the default space, the California-based firm has evolved its platform to enhance retail (or traditional) real estate transactions.

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Economists Project Slower Pace for Florida’s Housing Recovery

In the Sunshine State, economists have revealed projections for 2013, and their outlook presents a positive, if somewhat sluggish, forecast for the region's housing market. According to experts from Florida Realtors and Fannie Mae, upward trends are set to continue in Florida, while the state's pace of recovery is expected to fall behind the national average.

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